London. Sage, utterly subsumed in her Diana Fox identity, holds aloft the head of the man she just slew, the Cyclops of Shadow-X, X-Men from an alternate reality. A moment later, she breaks down in exhaustion, to be gently caught by the man whom she just saved, Albion.
Shortly thereafter, Albion holds up her arm and presents her to the crowd of London as his newest, proudest champion: Britannia. She risked her life to save his. She will do no less for them. As will they all. They stand before them not as conquerors, but as their champions!
The crowd is not convinced, however. “Could’a fooled me,” one man mutters. Children are scared or moan for food. Are any more planes gonna fall? asks a boy. An angry citizen asks where Captain Britain is. He’s supposed to be their defender. Why hasn’t he done something to save them? Maybe that lot killed him, a woman fears. Maybe he’s on their side, a man states darkly.
A young girl tells her father that she is hungry and scared. Can’t they please go home? Her father comforts her, but tells her there’s too much to do. Where did her mother go to? He sees the others panicking and decides to take charge, suggesting they set up stations along the Thames and up through St. James and Green Parks and start distributing food from all local stores. Perishables first, children have priority. Things like bottled water they’ll save.
What about resistance? a middle-aged woman asks. The man replies that their first responsibility is to the people. They do their best to make them safe, then perhaps they can worry about organized resistance. A young man asks if they can’t do anything. Should they just give up? The older man reminds him that planes fell from the sky. Their technology is gone. See that woman standing beside Albion? All by herself, using the power they’ve seen, imagine what she could do to them. And they can’t do a thing to stop her. That’s the reality of their world.
Britannia observes that the people don’t much like them. Is she really surprised? Albion asks. Doesn’t he consider them a threat? she wonders. What can they do? he asks. They have no power, no technology, no weapons worth the name. And they know it. At the moment they are targets, totally at their mercy. Nothing more.
He addresses Britannia, telling her that this is the dawn of a new age. The people will either adapt and ultimately accept… or they will die. Does she find that harsh? Lionheart would. When he speaks of strength, she replies with the need for compassion. She is not Lionheart Diana stresses. No, he observes. She is more like him, but she shouldn’t think less of Lionheart because of that. Or mistake that compassion, that empathy for weakness. Lionheart doesn’t like her, Britannia states. The feeling’s mutual. How fortunate for the both, that his is the only heart that matters, Albion replies.
He’s sent a team after Angel but, if Shadow-X have allied themselves with Excalibur, especially given the lack of word from Lionheart up north, chances are they’ll need help. He sends her there, while he will cement their position here in London.
He addresses the people again, stating that he is Albion. He bears the ancient name of this island and has devoted his life and that of his companions to its service. He is not there to rule. He is there to lead! Right now, they are pawns at the mercy of powers and events far beyond their control. This is what he can make them, masters of their destiny! He gestures, and his Captains come flying with supplies. He asks the people to join with him and he offers not simply the world, but the future! Some of the crowd are already entranced by his words, while others remain suspicious.
Dazzler watches from their hideout when suddenly Beast appears before her to surprise her. He laughs at her, telling her she may be totally gorgeous but totally easy to sneak up on. Dazzler lights up, startling him. Wasn’t that part of the program? she mocks.
The people nearby start noticing the light. Dazzler pins him with light beams and threatens him with a lightsword. Iceman comes up on an iceslide but Juggernaut stops him. Then he tells Ali that he expects better from her. She’s scaring the civilians, not to mention giving away their position.
The fleeing Angel and Wisdom also see the light. Can he make it there? Wisdom asks. Before Angel can reply, Albion’s Shadow Captains are on their trail. One of them hits Angel who crashes. Wisdom orders him to flee; he has a better chance solo. Several Captains follow Angel while one stays behind to take care of Wisdom. Pete draws his gun and fires but it is empty. The Captain smirks triumphantly as he raises his sword. Pete seemingly panics until the captain is close enough, then he fires his hotknives straight into the other man’s chest.
Angel faces his three hunters. What made them think he’s running? He just wanted some decent room to maneuver. With that, he attacks one Captain, shouting that is for Scott. He’ll make them all pay for his death!
What make him think they’ll give him a chance or even fight fair? the other Captains ask as they gang up on him. He falls and Wisdom gets ready to defend him, threatening that the fight’s not over yet.
A glowing Dazzler seemingly exuding energy with a sword joins them, shouting that it has barely begun. Iceman, Beast and Juggernaut are there as well. Iceman gives each of the three their own iceslide, so each can find his own target.
Wisdom wonders where Dazzler has been hiding all this power. She laughs at him, explaining that this is merely light and illusion. Nothing new. She’s just playing better with what she has.
Juggernaut takes out one Captain, proclaiming that this island hasn’t been conquered in a thousand years. What makes them think Excalibur is gonna let them ruin that streak?
Iceman panics as he misses a Captain who flies into Beast and then cuts Iceman in half with his sword.
Surprisingly, it was only an icestatue, the real one is about to finish him off when he is taken out by another Captain who also almost takes out Juggernaut. Dazzler steps between them, fighting him with two light swords, proving better than the Captain in combat.
Wisdom suddenly pushes her down, just in time as Britannia is flying by who’d almost got here. She takes out Juggernaut. Beast addresses her and punches away her helmet. The members of Excalibur are shocked to see that it’s Sage they are fighting. Britannia punches Beast back, reaches for her sword and stabs him into the chest.
Sage, what have you done? a glowing Dazzler screams in disbelief. Her name is Britannia, the other woman retorts, momentarily distracted by Alison. Suit’cherself, Juggernaut informed her as he punches her. She is still coming down hard.
Two Captains attack him in turn while another flies Britannia way. He is still convinced they can take their foes. That is precisely what their enemies want, Britannia decides. They have done enough damage for today. They’ll go toe to toe another time. With that, the Captains flee.
Iceman shouts after them to come back. They can’t run out on this fight. They aren’t done with them yet. Beast stares at the blood oozing from his chest. He thinks she got him good. As his legs don’t hold him up anymore, Alison supports him. He tells her he figured she’d be like him and let him fall. Yeah, like she’d ever follow his lead, she retorts. Point for her, he admits, before adding this really hurt. But he’s gonna be all right. Beast hasn’t been hit yet by the kinda shot that could take him out. Right, Warren?
Angel refuses to lie to him. He’s done, he tells his friend. Beast refuses to admit this. Warren has to be wrong. He doesn’t want to die. His life has just begun. This isn’t fair!.No, it’s not, Alison replies. Life begins. It ends. That’s reality for them all. Not him, he shouts. Not him! He won’t give up. He won’t be beaten. All he has to do is stay focused. He’ll show them all he can do this. On breath at a time. Beat after beat of his heart. That’s all it takes. He won’t let it stop. He can do this. He can win. He won’t give up. He just wishes… it wasn’t so cold. It’s supposed to be summer. One breath, one heartbeat he reminds himself. One more breath. One….
Alison gently closes his eyes. As Juggernaut tries to comfort her with a hand on her shoulder, she states that she’s done with counting up bodies. She’s done with people like Albion committing wholesale slaughter in the name of making this a better world. This is their home, their world, their future. And she’s damned if she’ll give up any of it to the likes of him.